Ethan’s Chess Rules


Chess begins with eight pawns, who journey across the playing field to face their adversary on the opposing side.  Should they reach the opposite end, they can be transformed into the other pieces:  the knight, the rook, the bishop, the king and queen.  The ultimate goal of these pieces is to defeat the opposing side.

            The bishop, obviously, represents the church and travels at angles different from everyone else.  The rook comes from the Italian rocca, for the siege tower, and travels in a straight line towards his doom.  A rook can take the king’s place early in the game; this is called castling. The knight travels across steps, skipping two forward and one to the side.  Commonly called an “L” shape, it can just as easily be described as a “7”.  The queen goes where she wants, but when the king falls the game ends. 

            It seems so simple.  But so few play it well.  I don’t know why, but I’ve never had an opponent I couldn’t beat.  I stopped playing at school, because it was making other boys angry.  I remember playing Alex once in high school, and I could sense he was getting frustrated with how easily I dealt with the majority of his pieces.  To let him save face, I arranged a stalemate, getting his king in a position where he couldn’t move, and where I couldn’t checkmate him.  He felt glad to have forced a tie after such a long game.

            I need an adversary worthy of my abilities.  I remember reading a theory that Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty were the same person:  so far, I really only enjoy playing chess with myself.




Mara stared at me.  I looked up at her slowly.

            “You didn’t want to learn chess,” I accused.

            “Yes, I do.”

            “But you knew this was here.”

            “Of course I knew.  But do you know what it means?”

            “Two bishops, two rooks, two knights, the king and queen.  Genevieve went where she wanted.  Owen worked in the Citadel, their tower, and he died a glutton.  Daniel was head of the army, a knight on horseback, and fell to lust.  Alex was besieged, and fell at the broken walls he was defending.  He took Neal’s place in Eve’s heart, and defended the castle she chose.  That leaves Jason in his false church, Evan as the other worship leader, Neal their king, and Reza as their dark knight.”

            “Well done.  Except, Evan’s already dead.  One bishop, one king, and one knight to go.”

            “It’s getting close to the end of the game,” I said.

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